Virtual Communication In Canvas

Canvas allows class communities to engage in virtual communication (called “synchronous”, or simultaneous communication) through an integrated tool called Big Blue Button (BBB).  BBB can be accessed by clicking on Conferences in course navigation.  This tool supports the sharing of audio, video and screen content online, and can accommodate up to 50 participants per session.  Read more about ways to enhance teaching and learning through virtual communications.

For successful synchronous exchanges, advance preparation is highly recommended.  CTE staff are available to assist you and can recommend best practices for synchronous communication.  Please contact centerforteaching@bc.edu with further questions or to get started.

Best Practices for Conferences

Virtual communications can sometimes offer a solution to an unforeseen problem such as a weather emergency. If extensive preparation is not possible, here are some suggestions to keep in mind:

  1. Big Blue Button requires certain technologies on your computer to be up to date, especially the browser and Flash player.  If you’re uncertain about this, you can check with help from Canvas information on browsers and Flash.
  2. To use audio and video, participants will be required to have access to:
    1. A computer with a webcam and microphone (no webcam needed for audio access only)
    2. A reliable internet connection with quick connection speeds.
    3. Headphones/earbuds to avoid audio feedback.
  3. Try to have students test Big Blue Button before the session itself, to make sure the technology is working for them and they are comfortable using it.
  4. Sharing video can also place high demands on bandwidth.  Consider having participants not share video, or just sharing it briefly as the session is starting.
  5. If anyone has difficulty participating through audio, encourage the use of text chat as an alternative.
  6. Record your session so students who encounter difficulties will be able to view it afterward.  Recordings are retained in Big Blue Button for two weeks after the session.

Quick Start Resources

Setting up a Conference in Canvas

Video for presenters

Sample Email To Students